Rightscon: a human rights/technology conference in Silicon Valley

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7 Responses to “Rightscon: a human rights/technology conference in Silicon Valley”

  1. phisrow says:

    Hey, how is it Narus’ or Cisco’s fault that they had a scheduling conflict between RightsCon and their pre-existing speaking engagement at PanoptiCon?

  2. Jason Stone says:

    I realize that this topic is extremely important either way, but, is it possible that US companies providing hostile regimes with technology might help us monitor and control those regimes? Wouldn’t they find a way to oppress their populations with or without our help?

    That being said, this conference looks rad! I wish I could be there!

    • Tynam says:

      Jason: A laudable but utterly naive thought. We have no ability to ‘control’ China – the options for Cisco are “be a willing partner in brutal oppression” or “don’t, and make less money”.

      You are, of course, correct that they will find a way to oppress their population with or without our help. But that’s not an excuse for helping. The way they’d have found by themselves isn’t as effective, or they wouldn’t be paying Cisco so much to build a better one.

    • phisrow says:

      You wouldn’t pay Cisco or Narus’ prices for oppression gear if you had the indigenous capability, especially in the case of China, where they would probably rather be buying Huawei…

  3. ridestowe says:

    the perfect location for a riot

  4. atimoshenko says:

    Rights abuses happen whenever there are capability asymmetries. Whenever one group or individual has more access to/or control over pretty much any ‘thing’ one can think of, that group or individual will eventually become abusive. Technology to me seems double-edged in this regard. From one side it tends to be democratising, giving capabilities to people who were previously too ‘small’ to have them. From the other side, the winner-take-all nature of a lot of technology leads to huge tech companies that *will* eventually act ‘evil-ly’ provided they keep their dominance for long enough.

    As for specific monitoring technologies such as deep packet inspection, the biggest thing to watch for is that access to them is not restricted to an elite few. I’m fine with the FBI deeply inspecting my packets, provided I get detailed notifications every time they do it and I can deeply inspect their packets back. Symmetric capability distribution allows for crowd-sourced policing of abuses.

  5. Manydocs says:

    A look at the conference site failed to find any reference to identity management, in general, and biometrics, in particular. Identity management, implemented properly, would reduce the claimed need for the attacks upon dignity and privacy that we see at airports and public buildings. Identity management if implemented in a police state or corporate state fashion, will severely diminish liberty and privacy. 

    Does anyone know how and to what extent the conference will touch on this subject? If not, they are dropping the ball, big time.

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